Facing the Future and Sprawl


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Facing the Future and Sprawl
Tough decisions now versus catastrophe later

While it is certainly true that sprawl is encouraged by ill-considered zoning, tax advantages and other short-sighted policies, exploding population growth is clearly a major causative factor. Congress' insistence on a policy of forced overpopulation is transforming America from the home of purple mountains' majesty to gridlocked suburbs from sea to shining sea.
Much of our interstate highway system was built in the 1950s and 1960s when U.S. population ranged between 150 and 179 million. Now, a short half century later, the population is 274 million - 100 million more Americans. Sprawl and gridlock should not be surprising.

Remarkably, when sprawl is discussed, the demographic forces at work are rarely mentioned. Media and government apparently have a hard time grasping the idea that a rapidly growing population is a major source of many pressing difficulties all around. Of course, it is hard for a politician to say that growth might not be totally beneficial. In addition, many are so sensitized by political correctness that they are afraid to speak the dreaded P word - population.



The housing industry welcomes nonstop population growth - and the Sierra Club does not object.


Political Correctness vs. Conservation

This sensibility may make the free-speech police happy but it is not good for the planet. The skyrocketing number of humans has profound consequences for every aspect of our lives and the future being mindlessly created. Our population profligacy is causing environmental changes that lessen the quality of life for everyone now and extending into the future. The results are more extreme in the U.S. because our high level of consumption multiplies each person's effect. The future as we are enacting it will surely be a time of water rationing, increased food costs and overcrowding. Our treasured American freedoms will be curtailed because of government intervention required to keep order among so many.
Regrettably, many environmentalists fear saying "population." For example, the Sierra Club instituted a major anti-sprawl campaign in 1998 with a report, "The Dark Side of the American Dream," which did not even mention U.S. population growth as a root cause. Rather than honestly facing unending population growth, the Sierra Club has embraced so-called "smart growth." Little more than an updated approach to urban planning, smart growth encourages people to live in high-density cities interwoven with green belts in which little or no development is permitted. This policy ignores that most Americans do not want to live in Manhattan-level densities and continue to prove it with their suburban buying decisions. Smart growth offers small palliatives, but cannot solve the fundamental problems caused by the endless population growth that America faces.
The bottom line is that "smart growth" is a symptomatic approach and can only slow - not stop - the slide toward a society too crowded to function. U.S. population must be stabilized soon if we hope to save America's environment.


Information on Sprawl

The Sprawl Ballot Question

The Overlooked Factor in Sprawl

The Sprawl Ballot Question - Looking for the Root Cause

Facing the Future and Sprawl

StarWhat you can do to help

Sprawl and Population

Supporting statement (short)

Census Adjusted Upward

Supporting statement (long)

Sprawl: It's Too Many People

Sprawl resolutions passed by Club Chapters

www.SprawlCity.org shows
population-sprawl relationship

Frequently Asked Questions

Democracy in the Sierra Club?


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